Where Did All The Holidays Go?

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Clark Griswold and the family

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Dear Holiday Season,

Where did you go? Honestly. I went with Maris & McClain to the store today to do a quick bit of shopping. Here in the South it’s still sweltering outside and we walked in the front doors drenched in sweat and smelling like “outside funk”. I put the girls in the buggy and walked in to find every red, green, and gold Christmas item you could find in the first aisle of the store. Of course, my daughters thought this was absolutely wonderful because Santa “must be coming down the chimney tomorrow night”. When I explained that it was only October and we hadn’t even made it halfway to Halloween, a complete and utter meltdown began which resulted in my embarrassing walk through the store with two screaming children, one who wore a dress so soaked in tears it was pitiful.

I got in the car and drove home thinking about how sad it has become that Christmas is so played upon during the holiday season and other important events are overlooked. I hate the fact that Halloween and Thanksgiving become one little blip of brown and orange décor in the stores, but even more, not really a big deal to even celebrate. I can remember my grandparents and parents making really big deals of each holiday so that we had wonderful memories of things. We watched Halloween movies and made candy apples and handed out treats from our front door. We also got to CELEBRATE Thanksgiving and sit down, family hand-in-hand, and had a dinner. Together. At a table.

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Is it that Christmas has become so much of a shoppers holiday, we don’t even think twice as to focusing on anything else? We need to get the hot ticket Christmas present on the shelf before the next store does instead of thinking about the fact that it’s 95 degrees outside? Retail has gotten so out of hand when it comes to holidays, most people don’t even shop IN the stores and choose to purchase things online – partially because of the chaos of shopping while Christmas explodes all over the store, your buggy, your car, and your budget.

When I found out I was pregnant, I asked my coworkers to give me the best parenting tip they were ever told. My boss chimed in and said he was told when adopting his daughters “to only give three gifts at Christmas to your children because that’s how many gifts baby Jesus recieved from the wise men”. We have actually held true to that and let me tell you, it has been awesome. It kept Coach and I from overspending, which is so easy to do when big business presses it in your face and makes you feel like less of a parent when you don’t buy 498,975,375,980 toys. Plus, if it was good enough for baby Jesus, then it’s most assuredly good for M&M. It also helps us to focus on spending time together and not running all over town buying and spending. This year we are going to volunteer and enjoy each other, not thousands of gifts.

So Holiday Season, we miss you. All of you. All the Columbus Day fall breaks, the Halloween spooky movies and treats. We miss Thanksgiving and eating til the tryptophan in the turkey knocks us out for the rest of the football games. And Christmas, we ALWAYS miss you because you’re awesome, but in due time. So come on back so we can celebrate!

xoXo,

Lace
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The Real Hunger Games :: Meals with Toddlers

Dear fellow parents,

I don’t know about you, but there are three times of day that give me more problems than the other 21 hours of the day: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I don’t know why, but my previous easy-going, “eat everything with no complaint” children have morphed into miniature people that have new-found opinions about meals and scarf down any and all food that they like. The Wierder combinations of food the better. And they let me know very quickly if what I make sucks.

The thing is, some of the time they are right. Granted, I like to cook and part of me found cooking a type of therapy before I had children. There was something soothing about being in the kitchen and creating a masterpiece of a meal to be savored with a nice glass of wine over dinner with my spouse. Now, meals feel like an episode of the Hunger Games, where I am literally trying to stay alive and not be pushed into a pot of boiling ravioli or hit with flying bananas.

They want me to be a short order cook. Today’s menu as follows: for one child its peanut butter with no jelly, a pineapple (whole with the spiky things on it), plates of brownies, four cups of ice, and half a leftover burger from last week. For the other it’s hummus with “crackers that have white spots on them”, 3 carrots, some Sour Patch Kids, an apple with seeds (WHY?) and peanut butter sandwich that has jelly on the corner and no where else. If it’s ANYWHERE else, an entire meltdown will ensue and I will be forced to walk the plank along with Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Sigh. (Can I tell you how many times I’ve walked the damn plank today?).

No matter what I make, they end up hating it, not eating it, throwing it all over the floor, themselves, me, our dog, or the carpet. Currently, their bedroom looks like a person was murdered in there because a few (make that four) strawberry nutra-grain bars are smashed so deep into the carpet, I may never get it out. I actually miss the days of spit up (what am I saying?) because it was easier to clean than 4000 goldfish crackers that have been crunched into a glass of milk to show me what “they have been cooking for MY lunch”.

And when it comes to me eating, at this point, it’s a lost cause. It’s pretty much the most violent part of the day when I know some small, tribal person will sneak from behind a couch or out of the pantry and creep towards me wielding a kids broom set and a Superman cape. They lunge – I duck, and still they seem to fly through the air and land in my lap, my perfect salad or the guacamole and chips I’ve been eyeing for the last 72 hours are now theirs. This is the real Hunger Games here, folks, and I’m literally just trying to survive, till Daddy comes home at least.

XoXo,

Lace

 

 

My Twins Are Not Circus Animals :: 3 Ridiculous Things to Ask Moms of Multiples

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Dear random stranger,

You know when you go to the circus and you see the animals in the cage, it’s different than seeing them at the zoo. It’s not like you haven’t seen at least 400 Bengel Tigers in your life, but when you see the circus tiger, well.. That’s got to be the most AMAZING THING you’ve ever seen! Right?!

For the record, my twins aren’t those tigers and this ain’t the circus, lady. Given the fact that the girls are two (almost three), surely I thought that people would get over the fact that they are twins and not stare at us like caged animals they’ve never seen before. It was even worse when they were infants. Sure, I get the fact that twins draw attention when you see them together, and I know my girls are adorable (I’m a tad bias) therefore it draws more ooohsss and aawwwwww’s from the crowd. But, honestly, as a mom of multiples its SO annoying. I’ve been asked plenty of insane questions being a twin mommy, but these are the top three most ridiculous things to approach a twin mommy and ask.

  • The dreaded “ARE-THEY-TWINS???”- I think its universal when I say this annoys us more than anything. No, they just look alike and resemble each other identically. I know that you also “know someone who knows someone who had twins and they looked like this and acted like this and did this.” Ok let’s stop there. Yes they are twins. Yes they look exactly alike, and resemble each other’s mannerisms. Yes they are cute. Yes they are their own people though. Move along.
  • The unanswerable “WELL, HOW DID YOU HAVE THEM??” – Let’s get this straight. You don’t know me, but you want to know my fertility chart and about the birds and the bees? How do you think we had them? To your dismay, I’m actually open about the fact that my husband and I did go through the process of IVF and our twins were the result of that. I’d be happy to talk to you about it – one on one- over coffee. But, being this is the second sentence you’ve said to me since you approached me at the gas station, I dont think it’s appropriate to chat about when I’m pumping (gas that is).
  • The almost understandable “I BET THEY SAY AND DO EVERYTHING EXACTLY THE SAME”. This one doesn’t annoy me, but I feel I should remind you that although they are twins (remember that first question you squealed at us?) they are also two different little girls. As a mother, it’s important to me that they celebrate what makes them special by being a set of muliples, but I also want them to remember they are amazing and different individuals too. Our girls are as opposite as night and day. And just as they are opposite, they have so many similarities that make them so alike. It’s a beautful combo.

At the end of the day, dear stranger, the ridiculous comments and questions are annoying. I never am bothered by those who approach us with kind smiles and brief “hello’s” for our family. Being a mom of multiples IS AWESOME and thank you for taking the time to acknowledge that, but let’s not stop traffic anymore.

xoXo,

Lacey


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This Crap is For The Birds :: Why Potty Training Sucks

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Dear awesome potty-training momma,

I so envy you. I suck at this. I dont know if it’s the fact that I have twins, or they are girls that really could care less about going to the potty, or maybe it’s that I just am not good at this, but this crap is for the birds. I hate potty training. There, I said it.. And I’m not ashamed to say that it was a lot easier when my twins were at daycare and the teachers could pretty much do this for me. That sounds bad to say, but it’s true.

We’ve tried everything and for the most part, they have the hang of it. We’ve made some random charts that do nothing but collect a zillion stickers when I’m not looking and we’ve eaten our weight in skittles. I’ve tried to do the whole “potty dance” and watch potty shows and movies – but honestly, it’s annoying. I know, this is my job, and now that I’m staying at home (on day 3 mind you) I realize how important this is, but let’s be honest they aren’t going to college in pull ups, right? One of my twins is halfway there, and gets the whole “If I go I can get a treat” which results in her going thousands of times in a row and her sister losing her mind thousands of times a day because she didn’t empty her bladder 400 times but deserves a snack too. {SIGH}. It’s not fun in stores or public places either when they touch EVERY GERMY THING in the bathroom, cry when the scary, loud toilet flushes, and we end up leaving to go buy more pull ups. And its exhausting when we distracted and brush our teeth for the tenth time in an hour, wash our hands again, pull toilet paper all over the floor, decide to take our dinosaurs for a swim in the sink… It’s endless.

I’ve heard that boys are easier because you can let them just pee outside or hit Cheerio’s as a target in the toilet. That actually sounds like fun. My girls are dainty and sweet, enjoy being creative and playing but care less about peeing in a pull up and just grabbing a clean one instead. And I’m ready to quit inflating  Target’s stock of pull ups and stop buying them all together.

So tell me this gets better. And easier. And lie to me and tell me that overnight, they just wake up one morning and are past this phase, because I’m tired of washing thousands of princess-themed panties and towels after pee covers our kitchen floor. I’m ok to admit that I’m not good at this potty training thing, because I am awesome at making grilled cheese and having impromtu dancing parties with my girls at night. Until the toilet flushes, I’ll just eat all the skittles and keep missing our former daycare teachers who got us HERE. You are the unsung heros! Gotta run – someone fell in the toilet (again).

xoXo,

Lacey
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“Drink Your Juice, Shelby” :: And other reasons your co-workers are actually some of your best friends

(above picture: http://www.countryliving.com. References to the movie Steel Magnolias as used below)

Dear Reader,

Have you ever seen the movie Steel Magnolia’s ? You know, the one where they make Shelby a.k.a. Julia Roberts drink her juice while she’s getting her hair done at Truvy’s Beauty Shop? Yeah.. THAT movie. You know it made you ugly cry too, just admit it. Aside from the tears and the amazing movie quotes, there’s a lot to be told from that chick flick. I love how everybody in their random group of pals goes to the hair salon where half of the friends work. They are quite a dysfunctional group, yet in the mist of the arrangement, they complement each other in such a way it just makes you love them.

Just as the gals at Truvy’s are best buds, you have best friends of this nature too. Of course, you have the kindergarten and college best friends, but another group exists in your work family. You see, the reason why your coworkers are actually your secret best friends is because they know everything about you. They’ve heard you tell story after story that nobody else wants to listen to because you’re there with them eight hours a day (or more). They let you cry on their shoulder, they’ve covered your tail when you missed days at work, and hated your boyfriend when he was mean to you the night before. Some days, you annoy the crap out of them but Hey – that’s life. I’m not going to say that every co-worker is going to be your “ride or die” best-friend-buddy but I will say that you should give a chance to the coworkers who can become your best friends because, whether or not you realize it, they probably already are. Your kids will be friends with their kids. You eat lunch together and they know you hate mayo more than anything. Plus, they are always going to be the people to tell you your top-knot does not look cute and looks more like a bird nest… but that’s real friendship right there.

One of the hardest parts for me to transition from working full-time to staying at home is leaving my co-workers. We joke and say that we are TRULY a dysfunctional family but in the heart of it – that’s all true. When I first started my job I had no idea the effect that working with a diverse group of people would have in my life. I thought it would be just your regular job. And, although I am looking forward to having more time with my children, I can honestly say then I’m going to miss that weird, crazy work environment because of my co-workers.

I know in my case, those folks that I spent almost 6 and a half years with, became and will always be some of my absolute best friends; My family actually. And every time their children are selling a box of chocolate bars or one of them gets engaged on the top of Mount Everest with a ring the size of a boulder, I’m going to be there to celebrate them. In my case, they have celebrated my transition into giving time to my family and for that I am grateful. So, do yourself a favor and at least indulge a little into some people that you work with. Just shut up and do it; I promise you’ll thank me later. Now, go drink your juice, Shelby.
xoXo,

Lacey

One Underdog You Gotta Root For 

Dear reader,

I hate to cut this blog short but I’m soaking up every second of some precious family time with my sisters at the beach {yay!}. I wanted to share an article thats truly a great read from The Clarion Ledger Newspaper. 

THE CLARION LEDGER {Wingfield QB refuses to let his past beat him}

( http://on.thec-l.com/2caOGvU )
As I rode in the car with my kids thinking of all the luxury we have {which isn’t much to some but more than enough for us}, I couldn’t help but tear up a bit at the resilience this young man has. Being married to a coach, I get to see young athletes from all walks of life. It’s when you see these kids turn into young men with such heavy burdens and woes some of us can’t imagine. This kid is amazing and I can’t wait to see where his grit and grind take him.
xoXo,

Lacey

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Grocery Cart Wars

Dear random guy at Wal Mart,

Hey. I have a serious bone to pick with you. See, here’s the thing, I just watched you drive down the completely wrong aisle of the parking lot, talking on your cell phone, yelling at your teenagers in the back and acting kinda frantic as you almost hit my car whipping your ride into the closest possible parking space to the door. You were still on the phone as you raced inside and left your kiddos (who were teens and *disclaimer* old enough to be in a car alone) to sit and also text and fight on thier phones. When you came running out with your bag of groceries in hand and still on your cell phone, you PUSHED YOUR CART INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AND LEFT IT THERE. Then hopped into your shiny silver bullet and drove away leaving a heap of metal right in the way for the rest of us to either move FOR you or just, I dont even know.


REALLY? Really.

There are a lot of things that I really cannot handle: snakes, can’t look at them. Someone coughing up mucous makes me want to vomit. And people who cannot put the grocery cart in the stall. To some, it may seem so very small but when you really break it down, it tells a lot about a person. It takes literally two extra seconds because your friendly grocer has already talked to thier marketing guru team who has strategized and mapped every inch of that parking lot. They know how far you’ll walk to put that cart back and the stalls are actually very accesible to most parking spaces.

It also sets a tone to how you value others and yourself or your time. We are all busy in this world. The World is amost too busy for itself, and as a mom I am always running in and out of places (no joke) looking like I’m escaping jail. But, by over looking others and not taking the time to PUSH A CART IN A STALL, I’m basically saying my time is worth more and everything else is quite insignificant. Often, I’ll watch a group of people just push carts into each other and follow the leader – never stopping to be different and go against the crowd. One reason why I love my husband is he ALWAYS gathers the left over carts up and puts them back. It can be raining or 10,000 degrees outside, but he’s going to take the time to stop and just – help out. Something so small, but I bet you notice him when you’re leaving the store.

I say all that to just end with this – be different. Push the cart to the stall. Invest a little more time. Help someone out. You’d be suprised who notices the small and (maybe) insignificant things that other people take pride in. I married the guy who I watched pushing those carts and he’s not let me down. Rain or shine, he always takes the time to go the extra mile. Be that guy.

xoXo,

Lacey

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A Tale of Two Mothers : SAHM and Working Moms

 

Dear moms,

Recently I’ve taken a change of heart and am transitioning from a working mother to staying at home with my twin girls. With my anxiety feeling at an all time high due to the transition, I have worried myself to death about all the details of this change.

Being a working mom has been great. It challenged me in ways that reminded me how much I loved serving others in my healthcare career. I felt for a long time that I was able to have so many of the things that I wanted – parenting my twins and showing them how strong women in the workplace can make a difference. But, recently I’ve had a void. I’ve missed so many things with them. Weekends and after work seem to be the only time I have to manage my house and that is leaving little time with my family. Then there’s the cost of DAYCARE. Well, it’s absurd for any childcare cost to exceed your mortgage and with two, I basically need to sell a kidney.

Therefore, I’ve prayed for months and discussed it over and over with my husband (trust me, he’s heard all my worries) and have decided to officially stay at home. My heart is very excited and I know this time with them goes by fast. One day I’ll miss it, but I don’t want to miss it while I’m in it. As the time to stepping out of my clinic and back into my household approaches, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. Am I going to go crazy and feel like I have nothing outside of my house? Will I drive my kids crazy? They’ve done great in a learning environment for a while, but can I do as good of a job teaching them and helping them learn? And FINANCES– is my wallet ready for this budget I’m about to be on?

I’m the type of person that plans. My life is quickly planned out in a perfect little way that fits in my perfect idea of how it should be. And how often I am reminded that it’s never, ever, ever worked the way I wanted it to. Each time I think I had it all planned out, God tossed me for a loop. I know this is going to be great and positive. I know change can be hard and scary. And I know time with my children is so important, just as time for myself is too.

In the words of the great Leslie Knope from one of my favorite shows, PARKS & REC, “In times of stress or moments of transition, sometimes it can feel like the whole world is closing in on you. When that happens, you should close your eyes, take a deep breath, listen to the people who love you when they give you advice, and remember what really matters”.


xoXo,

Lacey

When They Tell You It’s Impossible

Dear friend suffering from infertility,

I know. I know exactly where you are in this season of life. I know the worry and the fear. I know the pain of loss. I know heartbreak. I know the process of taking out loans and looking at finances not for a house, or a car, but for a chance. I know how it feels to get labwork that will determine your future with a gut wrenching feeling that this just may be it. I know the lectures you get from people who don’t understand. I know the stacks of brochures about the other options. I know. And you know what, all of that sucks.

We painstakingly heard the words that it was going to be nearly impossible for us to have children. Endometriosis and secondary infertility were words that now had labels in our lives and seemed to manage our futures more than we could. I sat in a doctor’s office as a 26 year old amongst a room full of women and thought of my impossible, quickly realizing they had impossible goals too. Some were my age and other women were older, but none of us made eye contact although all our emotions were present.

Our infertility journey was long, three years, to be exact. The time includes 3 full rounds of IVF, two laporascopic sugeries and countless procedures that made me feel incomplete. We longed for children but in the back of my mind, all I heard were impossible words. Then one day, when I was at my lowest of lows and felt my absolute worst, a precious friend from work reminded me

“God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers”.

Those words became my mantra, and I said them over and over to myself. My faith is important to my husband and me. We believe in the power of prayer and letting go of control for God to take over. When I realized this was out of my hands, this happened.


One longer letter, I’ll write our entire infertility story, but for now I want to leave you with encouragement because it can be so hard to find in deep, emotional times. Ignore the percentages, the nay-sayers, that voice in your head telling you to give up. If this is what you want, make sure it’s on the same page as The Man Above’s. He won’t forsake you or fail you. And He never says it’s impossible.

I’m praying for you my friend,

xoXo,

Lacey




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Three Mom-Types You Need to Be Best Friends With

Dear Regina George (kidding!),

My sister who nicknamed me Lou shares a love for the movie Mean Girls with me. No matter how many times we watch it, it never gets old. For those who haven’t seen it, theres a group of mean girls in a high school that each have a distinctive role. There’s the follower who does everything the group says. There’s one gal that tries to hold her own, but to no avail, is shut down rather quickly by the leader – You guessed it. Regina George. Regina’s pretty. And hateful. And she lets no one sit with her at lunch. Everyone thinks they want to be friends with her because of what they’ve heard, but in actuality – NO ONE does. Shes a mean girl.
Some people feel that motherhood can be like that. Sometimes, there’s that circle of mean moms out there in Motherhood land and let’s be honest, we dont want to sit with you. I like to choose the moms who bring joy and light into my life. If I had to write my own Mean Girls, I have the perfect three types of moms I’d LOVE to be friends with!

  •   The ” laugh-at-herself-mom”. This mom is fantastic. She takes the task of motherhood and makes it pleasureable, no matter how rough it can seem. Sure, most people would cringe at the thought of being vomited on or changing yucky diapers in the car by herself with no wipes, but this mom understands the grit-and-grind of parenting. She doesn’t take herself {or certain situations out of her control} too seriously. She doesn’t sweat the small stuff and is always down for a good laugh.
  • The ” no-frills-birthday-party-mom”. This mom rocks my socks off. She’s the mom that feels comfortable in her own skin and thinks stressing over party planning ideas and pinning perfect Pins on Pinterest is ridiculous. She’s the one who realized a long time ago, that perfectly placed table cloths and hand-lettered monogram napkins for a 2 year old’s Soiree’ & Sweets themed party is dumb. Sure, she wants to give her kids the world, but she recognizes they are KIDS. She savors the time with them and not the time it took to plan. Bask in this mom’s carefree spirit while you’re eating sheetcake and hitting a pinata cause she is AWESOME.
  • The “i-have-no-idea-what-i’m-doing-mom”. This mom admits that she doesn’t have all the answers, and that’s ok. She listens to others stories and suggestions openly without judgement. She’s willing to try anything because she’s honest with herself that she doesn’t know it all. She realizes that her children teach her something new on a daily basis and she enjoys the journey of learning about them and thier needs. Sure, she has moments of fear when she truly is unsure, but she’s brave and true to herself and can ask for help. She’s one of a kind in a world where we all can be quick to think we’ve got it all solved.

No matter what kind of mom you are or try to be, one thing is for sure, mothers are unique. There are some mean ones out there. There’s leaders and followers. Those that can laugh at themselves and those that measure worth in moments and not monetary things. I’ll spend my days seeking out those awesome moms in the world and celebrate them and the wonderful examples they set. So here’s to you Regina George’s out there! You can’t sit with us.

xoXo,
Lacey